Waiting for … Eleazer?

I’ve been struck lately by the whole “prince charming” phenomenon.  Disney probably hasn’t helped girls in their preparation for young womanhood by giving them a plethora of pictures where the prince comes along, meets a girl, falls in love, and marries the princess or the beauty (nor is Disney the only culprit, lest you think I’m anti-Disney or something).  I know, I know, there’s usually a catch, like a dragon or a wicked witch, or some such obstacle, but fairy tales resolve themselves in short order.  In real life there is more to it than that.


So let’s think about some old love stories.  One of the first recorded love stories is of a girl who went to a well.  This was something she did every night, and she probably had no warning that tonight was going to be any different.  Tonight she met a traveler.  Perhaps she saw the caravan first, and looked to see if this rich train was led by a handsome young man.  When she saw that he was middle-aged or more, definitely no dashing young prince charming, she was not deterred, and she offered to give him drink, and then to water his camels.  Her servant’s heart was evident, and she thought of no reward.  Imagine her wonder when the man gives her gold bracelets and asks her questions about her family, and whether he can lodge with them!

We usually read Rebekah’s story from Eleazar’s standpoint, of how he prayed for guidance and then met her at the well.  But think, girls, she was there doing her daily chores.  She wasn’t off on some mission’s trip, nor was she flirting at youth group.  She was living in the light God had given and doing good to others!  And apparently she wasn’t afraid to work, either, because watering ten thirsty camels until they’ve finished drinking is a lot of work.  And she was hospitable; she invited Eleazar and his camels home before she knew that he was of her great-uncle’s household.

Then, Eleazar asks her to travel with him to become the bride of his master’s son, Isaac.  I’m guessing he told her about Isaac, probably in fairly general terms, and about what kind of inheritance Isaac would have.  The last part was probably for her family’s benefit, because if I know a woman, she could have cared less if his father had had only a few sheep instead of many flocks.  The adventure probably sparked her interest all by itself, but it would also have been cause for some deep thought and prayer.  Whether she had misgivings or no, she could not help but see God’s hand in leading Eleazar to her, and when her brother and father would have kept them there some weeks in preparation, she told them simply “I will go.”  And she went with Eleazar to meet a bridegroom she did not know.


Okay, here’s another old story with another well.  This time the girl was a shepherd.  She kept her father’s sheep.  Every day she had to bring her sheep to a well which had a stone covering it.  That stone took many men to lift, so she probably did not hurry to get there early.  But one day, as she came to the well, a stranger was standing there talking to some of the other shepherds.  Surely she was mistaken, but it seemed as if he was only waiting until he saw her coming, and then he rolled the stone away singlehandedly.  If he was going for the impressive factor, he succeeded!  This stranger proceeded to water her flocks, and then he told her that he was her father’s nephew, and she ran home to bring her father out to greet Jacob.

Yep, we generally read this one from Jacob’s perspective.  It’s very easy to get tangled up in the Laban vs. Jacob bargaining and the daughter swap that lands Jacob with two wives, but the beginning of this romance was that Jacob saw Rachel about her father’s business.  And he helped her water her flock.  Later he would take over her job of caring for Laban’s flock.  Come to think of it, Laban apparently had sons too, because later on, they get worried about how Jacob is making off with the lion’s share of Laban’s flocks (fairly worked for, of course).  Makes me wonder what they were up to while Rachel watched the flocks, but I will resist the temptation to digress here.


So, two love stories.  Two plot lines.  And which will your romance look more like?  We tend to imagine something more along the lines of Jacob, rolling the stone off the well.  I’ll admit, he made a big first impression.  But girls, don’t take it for granted that you’re looking for a Jacob and therefore miss Eleazar when he rides into town.  A train of ten camels is not to be sneezed at, so don’t !

What do we do in the meantime?  What were Rachel and Rebekah doing?  Living in their fathers’ houses, doing the work laid out for them.  Whether you have a job outside the home or in, you can be pursuing God’s plan for your life as part of the family He has placed you within right now.  Don’t fret about the future, but prepare yourself for it.  When your future comes knocking, don’t be caught saying “wait, I’m not ready for this.”   I wouldn’t even worry about the hows, wherefores and whys.  What is important is to live as God leads you, whether the guy at the well is Jacob or Eleazar.

Do you trust God to bring you your Jacob? Remember girls, when he met Laban’s daughters, he was nowhere near the man who became called Israel. Can you wait for His timing for Eleazar to bring you to your Isaac? We don’t know what Rebekah thought when she watered those camels, but she probably wasn’t thinking “oh, here’s someone who can introduce me to a nice young man, I’ll water his camels too.”  Don’t be shocked if your story takes some faith-deepening twists.

And how did each of these love stories end?  Each man loved his wife, and they went about their Father’s will together, for both couples were links in the chain that would eventually set the world free.

Explore posts in the same categories: Theological Musings, Young Adulthood

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2 Comments on “Waiting for … Eleazer?”

  1. a.w. marks Says:

    Ahh… I love the Rebekah story, because it demonstrates that God’s will is often revealed through our willingness to respond. If Rebekah had developed a passive attitude in her waiting, she would have missed this particular blessing. We should be diligent, especially in our waiting; Rebekah received a Godly husband because she chose to respond according to the character He was already developing. She had a choice to continue waiting for an easier proposition or trust that God had sufficiently prepared her to be the perfect comfort for Isaac. I wonder how many of us would continue to search for confirmation (in fear of messing up our decision) rather than trust that God does not lead us astray when our hearts are inclined to serve and know Him already.

    • I think many would have second guessed at least themselves, but you’re right, we don’t see that from Rebekah. She is ready and willing to trust God. I doubt she could have been that quick to recognize His hand moving her if she had not been patiently following His will all along. How much more could we trust Him in the big things if we would also patiently seek His will in the little things of life.

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